Following a spate of substandard products being released to the public, the Ladder Association has recently released new safety guidance with regard to the use of telescopic ladders. Safety is extremely important to us here at Browns Ladders, so we’re taking the opportunity to run you through some of the core lessons of this new telescopic ladders guidance.
Buying Quality Ladders
One of the very first – and arguably most important – points the report makes is in regards to buying quality ladders. Buying cheap ladders from pop-up suppliers is often a shortcut to getting hurt, as the lack of safety overview and good standard of materials in these ladders means that they’re frequently liable to collapse.
At Browns, we’d recommend only buying ladders which meet the European EN 131 certification (which, as you may well have guessed, every single one of our products does). EN 131 is a certification which confirms a product meets the European minimum safety standards expected of manufacturers. It governs aspects of construction, performance and the clarity of the attached instructions, ultimately resulting in ladders which are reliably built and easy to use.
A ladder without these standards can open you or your employees up to significant risk, so always check for this certification before you buy your ladder. If the supplier can’t provide it or you suspect their copy looks fabricated, never hesitate to back away!
How To Use Telescopic Ladders Safely
Because of the nature of their construction, telescopic ladders have notably more safety-critical and moving parts than rigid ladders or stepladders, which necessitates particularly rigorous pre-use checks. They can also easily be damaged by impacts or substandard storage or transport, so always check it before you use it, even if it’s brand new. Similarly, you should take particular care if the ladder has suffered an impact of some sort, or if it’s toppled off something.
We’ve gone into detail about some excellent pre-use ladder checks in the past few weeks, but the absolutely critical thing to bear in mind with a telescopic ladder is that all the mechanisms need to lock correctly. If they don’t, you should definitely never use it until the ladder has been repaired and inspected by a professional.
Remember – not all telescopic ladders function in the same way, so make sure you read the instructions before you start work with your brand new purchase. If you don’t know every aspect of how it works, you may end up with trapped fingers in a best case scenario, or even a collapse at the worst.
A couple of other key tips:
- Tie it up or stabilise it against a solid surface before you climb it
- Make sure that the ladder is at a correct angle, and that the feet are sufficiently braced before you climb it
- Don’t attempt to adjust the locking mechanisms while you’re using the ladder
- Take care when extending and closing it – if the mechanisms shut too quickly the impact could damage them, compromising the ladder’s safety
Maintaining Your Telescopic Ladder
The manual for your telescopic ladder will give you detailed instructions on how to clean and care for it – as each ladder can sometimes have differing requirements – but as a general rule, keeping your ladder clean involves wiping it regularly with a clean, dry cloth. Don’t lubricate the sections of the ladder unless your manual specifically directs you too, as incorrect cleaning can actually end up having a debilitating effect.
Telescopic ladders require clean and dry environments that are sheltered from adverse weather like snow and rain. What’s more, they should never have anything stacked on top of them or be used to support any other weight, as this can once again put unnecessary strain on the mechanism.
At Browns Ladders, we take great pride and care in the quality of our products, so you know you can always trust us to guarantee your safety. You can browse our wide range of telescopic ladders, including those from top brands like Abru Werner and Zarges Telemaster.
If you’re looking to get reassurance on the safety of a ladder you already own, on the other hand, we provide a ladder inspection service that does just that! Just give us a call on 01282 615517 to find out how we can help.
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